Black History and Equality in Texas

Black History and Equality in Texas

“Their purpose is to prepare … people to serve and to build up the body … This is to continue until all of us are united … as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship … The whole body fit together and unite … As each and every part does its job … the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” . In his writings to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul spoke of unity, relationship, truth and building up the body of believers. I believe the analogy of the body can be applied to the citizenry of Texas. During its most recent legislative session, the State of Texas raised its expectations of fairness and unity for its vulnerable citizens, and for those not so vulnerable.{{more}} And by continuing its efforts to eliminate the disproportionate numbers of African American, Native American, Latino and other non-mainstream groups in Texas systems, and by continuing its efforts through law to eradicate disparate and unequal services to those groups through Senate Bill 501, Texas raised the standard of unity and trust in relationship for everyone. Senate Bill 501 mandated the transition of the state’s disproportonality specialists to HHSC, the agency that covers CPS, APS, DADS, DARS, DSHS, and child care licensing. The bill includes education, healthcare, juvenile and criminal justice, and embeds the language of disproportionality, disparities, race and equity into everyday conversations within all its agencies. This changed language and the expanded and more equitable services that will come about as a result of it, is not only taking place in the communities disproportionately represented, and not only in communities where people have received unequal services through Texas systems, but actually in those systems. Senate Bill 501 mandates that conversations around fairness and equity take place within Texas schools, hospitals, courts, social service agencies, and the justice system as well. Texas voiced a truth that speaks to the heart of its citizens and fosters a spirit of unity and relationship. It’s been said, “When we raise the bar for the least of us, we raise the bar for all of us.” The bar has been raised in Texas. During the month of February when many wonder if there is any reason to celebrate Black History or they wonder why we celebrate Black History, it is important to remember from whence we have come. Having been one of the most conservative states in the union, this paradigm shift, this positive, supportive approach to all its citizens demonstrates a level of fairness and justice that is in and of itself reason to celebrate. It has sometimes been difficult to say, “I’m proud to be a Texan,” but now with this new awareness, a more anti-racist perspective and caring lawmakers, that may soon change for many Texans. During this Black History Month 2012, I can truly say “I am proud to be a Texan!”